OSNABRÜCK – The Amsterdam and Aachen based outfit Benthem Crouwel Architects – well-known in the Netherlands for its ongoing project overhauling the major Dutch railway stations as well as the continuing work on Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport – has recently completed an auditorium building on a new college campus in Germany, to the north west of Osnabrück’s town centre.

‘The master plan was made by Lützow7 Landscape Architects from Berlin. It defines that the library and our auditorium building will be flanked by two other buildings in the future. These four buildings surround the so-called forum,’ explains partner and project architect Markus Sporer. ‘In order to create a strong connection between the forum and the more open spaces of the campus beyond, we cut the building open from below.’

By virtue of this simple gesture, the architects have created a dramatic cantilever, drawing and guiding visitors along the campus. Inside, the architects have inserted a ‘learning landscape’ – a building-wide, stepped tribune that aims to cater to today’s increasingly connected, informal and ad-hoc studying practices. Its position, rising from the entrance atrium gives it a more prominent space then the more conventional seminar and lecture rooms clustered at the back. The façade comprises a green foil covered by perforated aluminium panels, in order to keep its appearance ‘fresh and thrilling’.

Furthermore, the building’s prominent position on the campus compensates for its monofunctionality. ‘The auditorium building benefits greatly from the fact that it lies between the canteen, library, campus space and forum, in the very centre of the new campus. However, it is the only building that provides an explicitly new spatial interpretation of learning,’ Sporer concludes.

Photos Jens Kirchner/, courtesy of Benthem Crouwel Architects